Approximately 40 St. Mary Catholic Elementary School students took part in the first of many Community Programming sessions at the Welland Indoor Paddle Tank on Wednesday, November 19th.
Grade seven (7) and eight (8) students took part in flatwater fun as a part of the school's physical education program; the day consisted of a session in the fitness area led by the Paddle Tank Program Manager Diana Hastings, as well as a dragon boat session in the Welland Indoor Paddle Tank led by Paddle Tank Program Consultant and Olympian Richard Dalton. The Welland Indoor Paddle Tank provides a new and unique opportunity for students to be physically active, through the use of its dual channel, variable speed, moving water, multi-sport training tank, and additional fitness equipment. Through the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport's Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund (OSRCF), the Welland Recreational Canal Corporation is able to offer free community programming to schools and community groups.
“This has been a great experience for the grade 7 and 8's of St. Mary," stated Kim Cruise, grade eight (8) teacher at St. Mary Catholic Elementary School. “Both classes really enjoyed themselves and learned things that they never have the opportunity to before. The students cannot wait to come back and experience it again."
The Welland Indoor Paddle Tank is located at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC), a legacy venue of Toronto 2015 Pan Am / Parapan American Games. It is equivalent to a treadmill but with water as the 'training surface' instead of rubber. The inaugural tank season began in October 2014 and will run until March 2015. The facility promotes the principles of physical literacy as outlined in the Canadian Sport for Life model. These principles are fostered through programming opportunities both in the tank and in the 2,000 square foot fitness space, outfitted with free weights, weight equipment, cardio accessories, exercise machines, and ergs.
“The most fun I had today had to be paddling in the water," expressed grade eight (8) student Grade Devin Brzozowski Greenwood. “It was a great exercise and a whole body workout. It was an experience I won't forget and I definitely want to do it again."
Schools, community groups, and sporting teams / clubs are encouraged to grab a paddle or an oar and give flatwater sports a try! Everyone will enjoy using this facility, whether you have stood on the podium at the Olympics, or have never been out on the water. This unique facility allows for individuals of all experience levels and all ages to participate, no matter what the season.